More POGOs to shut operations in Subic Bay: official

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 30 2020 03:39 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2020 10:33 PM

Phil-Asian Gaming Expo features offshore games targetting bettors outside the Philippines. Games can be played on desktop or mobile devices. Photos taken at the SMX Convention Center. July 12, 2019. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA - More Chinese-operated gambling hubs are "winding down" their operations in Subic Bay in Olongapo City, north of the capital, an official said Friday. 

Out of 4 Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in the area, one has closed, said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator and CEO Atty. Wilma Eisma. 

"Nagsabi na po ang mga may-ari ng natitirang POGO na they're also in the process of winding down," she said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

(The owners of the remaining POGOs have said they're also in the process of winding down.)

"Unti-unti na pong magsasara ang mga POGO establishments," she added. 

(Little by little, the POGO establishments will close.)

The looming POGO closure "is a signal that the economy is not yet there--not just in the Philippines, but also worldwide," said the official, noting that the clients of these establishments are abroad. 

"Kung kailangan magsara ng POGO, which supports the BPO here in Subic, ibig pong sabihin, ang economy outside, where POGO is being serviced, is also going down," Eisma said.

(If a POGO needs to close, which supports the Business Process Outsourcing industry here in Subic, it means that the economy outside, where POGO is being serviced, is also going down.)

The SBMA is coordinating with the immigration bureau for the cancellation of visas of POGO workers that may close in the area, she said. 

Some firms in Subic Bay have retrenched workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, Eisma said. 

Recently, the SBMA approved the operations of a new company that would manufacture anti-virus masks there, she said. 

Subic Bay's free port also reopened to tourists recently. 

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